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Business Innovation and the Cultural and Creative Industries

Exploring the links between the arts, culture and design sectors and business innovation.


Our interest in how the cultural sector can contribute more to Australia’s innovation agenda started from two points:


We are continually impressed by the successful innovation that happens within the cultural sector.


We’ve watched as more and more business people are added to cultural organisation boards,  presumably to help them be more businesslike, which indeed they often have done.  


But we see no placement of cultural leaders on business boards to help them be more creative and agile (and therefore more innovative), which we think they just might need.


What evidence is there that the cultural sector, and the inherent characteristics of arts and culture, can indeed lead to more innovation for the business sector?


In our view, there is ample indirect evidence of the importance of arts, culture and design to fostering a more innovative and agile business sector in Australia.


How do we find out if that evidence can be more clearly defined and quantified?


We’re working with universities, business leaders, cultural sector leaders and think tanks to explore the links between the arts, culture and design sectors and business innovation, with the aim being that Australia develops a more innovative and agile business sector.


Join us in building a more innovative and agile Australian business sector.




The nature of innovation is itself a thorny issue.  The Business Council defines it as the “application of knowledge and technology to create additional value”.


Wikipedia goes for the slightly broader view that “the term innovation can be defined as something original and more effective and, as a consequence, new, that breaks into the market or society.”


Despite this broad and inclusive view of innovation, in the Australian context innovation policy seems to have solidified into what the UK think tank Nesta refers to as the linear model of innovation:  


“Policymakers in thrall to the linear model often assume that good innovation policy involves funding lots of basic science and then paying for a fairly limited set of things that “translate” it into reality, like setting up university tech transfer offices or subsidising venture capital”.  


Hence, we are seeing a lot of emphasis in Australia on the so called STEM agenda.  


That’s fine as far as it goes, but more nuanced views of innovation often add the “A” for arts to STEM to get STEAM.  And many of us would add the “D” for design to round off the dimensions of creativity.


We believe that the more linear STEM view of innovation, dominated by hypothesis or problem-focussed research and engineering, must be complemented by the process of creativity, agility and innovation inherent in the cultural and creative industries sector.  


It’s harder to define that process because it isn’t linear; it’s organic and, well, creative. 



Find out more


Contact us to discuss how we can help your organisation become more creative, innovative and agile.


Phone: +61 (0)419 492 201

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